Saturday, August 27, 2011

Day 24: Moos to Mils


So far, every day had brought us a forecast for rain, but instead we've gotten clear weather instead, and today was no exception. We woke up to a glorious day, with not a cloud in the sky. From the early climbing, the view down into Moos was nothing short of breath-taking.
From Tour of the Alps 2011

In 2007, Robert complained that he climbed most of Timmelsjoch from St. Leonhardt without a single drop of water en-route. Since today was likely to be just as hot, I warned Phil to be on an extra careful lookout for water, and to fill up the water bottles at every opportunity.
From Tour of the Alps 2011

Starting from Moos turned out to be a great idea, as the climb started in the shade and the temperature stayed cool even when we emerged into the sun at 1600m, where we refilled at a water fountain near a hotel. Soon after that, however, I spotted two more water fountains on the right side, set into crevices in the wall next to the road, so I have no idea how Roberto managed to pass all those water fountains and not recognize them for what they were.
From Tour of the Alps 2011

As I approached the top, I saw megaphone type tubes set in the mountain side. After a while I realized what they were: since the area had high winds, they were a shelter for car drivers to pull over, walk into the tube and gaze at the valley below without being blown about. Of course, cyclists are used to being blown about, so it was not a problem. Near one of the megaphones, I met a couple from the Netherlands who were on a driving tour. I seemed to be meeting a lot of Dutch people on this trip!
From Tour of the Alps 2011

It took a little bit of riding, but I got to the 16th tunnel, which for the purposes of riding a bike was the summit tunnel for Timmelsjoch and just a hop skip and a jump into Austria. I turned off the data plan on my phone (it wasn't getting any data anyway), and after a bit of rest, rode through the tunnel with absolutely no symptoms of altitude sickness whatsoever.

From Tour of the Alps 2011

The section of road between what I consider the summit tunnel to the Austrian border is just a couple of kilometers, but it's very pretty, wild and desolate with sheer drop offs and high mountains all around. In all the alps there's nothing quite like it. At the pass proper it got really windy and I walked into a viewing gallery so I could admire the scenery. I could see my bike from the viewing gallery, and saw also the myriad cyclists stopping to put on clothing as the temperatures had dropped quite a bit.
From Tour of the Alps 2011

After taking the obligatory pass photo, I rode over to the restaurant to wait for Phil. I had harbored thoughts of getting a hot lunch, but walking through the restaurant made me realize that they were so busy that I was unlikely to get service for at least an hour. Phil showed up and when I told him about it, agreed to descend to Solden for lunch.
From Tour of the Alps 2011

The descent on the Austrian side was wild and pretty, with lots of well banked turns and two retro grades. I remember being surprised by them during my last visit (and Roberto apparently cursed my name quite a bit), but this time we were prepared for them and while the headwind was annoying, they were over soon enough. We stopped for photos once or twice, but were soon in Solden and getting lunch at the supermarket. I tried to get a Sim card but had no luck. We would be back in Switzerland soon enough anyway.
From Tour of the Alps 2011

The descent from Solden down towards Imst was pretty in places, but flat enough that the afternoon headwind really annoyed me and slowed me down quite a bit. Once out of the Otztal Valley the weather warmed up and we found ourselves climbing towards the Inn river valley during the hottest time of the day under the hot sun. Fortunately, the climb wasn't terribly long and soon I found myself following the instructions I remembered clearly from Jobst Brandt to find the bike path: down towards the train station (Bahnof), past the water rafting put in. To my surprise I ended up at the train station instead, having ridden past the put in. Phil wanted to use the rest room anyway, so I was left scratching my head. Eventually, as we rode back out to look for the bike path to Landeck, I realized what had changed: the water rafting put in was closed and the office for it had been removed, leading me to ride right past it.
From Tour of the Alps 2011

Well, we found the bike path to Landeck, and for the third time in my life started riding on it. The weather had turned by this time and the sky was overcast. Off in the distance towards Landeck we saw rain in the mountains.
From Tour of the Alps 2011

It didn't take a long time before the rain hit us, but it turned out to be a light drizzle, just enough to make us prioritize looking for lodging. I'm normally a worry-wort on weekends, but I figured that the Inn River Valley had plenty of lodging. Indeed at the very next small town of Mils we found a clean hotel at a somewhat reasonable price, and took a double room. After cleaning up, we walked down to dinner and was treated to a gorgeous rainbow seen right from the hotel. It was a nice reward for riding what would turn out to be the Queen stage of the tour.
From Tour of the Alps 2011

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